I think I’m in the minority, but I believe colleges will be fairly back to normal in the fall.
The vaccine campaign is dramatically ramping up. The first week had around 800,000 vaccinations for the entire week, but yesterday had 900,000 for just the day. Each week has seen rapid acceleration; clearly there has been a learning curve. I expect next week the rates will be dramatically higher still. I think early on hospitals were being very precious about rollout; only giving to a fraction of workers per day in case they called in sick the next day, etc. A lot of reasons for slow pace, but clearly the pressure is on to move faster and we can already see dramatic improvement. I saw Pfizer CEO on cnbc the other day, and they continue to find ways to improve manufacturing. Their initial estimate of 1.3 billion doses in 2021 has now been increased to 2 billion. J&J is expected to release their Phase 3 data within 2 weeks, and the early data is promising. So the US already has 400 million doses secured from Moderna and Pfizer by June, and can add >100 million doses (single dose) from J&J starting in March. We have approximately 250 million eligible adults in the US, so if hopefully at least 200 million of them agree to get vaccinated, it should be available to all who want it long before school starts.
It appears that most doctors are recommending it for even their patients on chemo; I haven’t read about any groups of 16+ year old people who are recommended not to get it (except possibly more caution for pregnant people) although people with severe allergies should be watched. This is important because if basically every adult is safely eligible, once everyone has been offered the vaccine, I don’t really see a need to continue with extra measures. (Of course, now that everyone has masks handy, if they have a cold, or whatever, masks will hopefully make an appearance).
So that’s a long answer to say, I believe dorms will be full in the fall, classes in person, and I do believe there will be sports spectators. Maybe there will temperature checks or other lingering things, but I think there will be parties again, etc. That’s my prediction. Looking forward to getting there and seeing what it’s really like in the fall!!